ISLAMABAD, Sept 5: US Charge d’ Affaires Richard Hoagland on Wednesday announced $4 million (more than Rs378 million) for the fifth phase of Pakistan United States Sciences and Technology Cooperation Programme at Higher Education Commission (HEC).
Federal Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, Akhlaq Ahmad Tarar, Executive Director HEC Prof Dr Sohail H. Naqvi and vice-chancellors of six universities also participated in launching ceremony of fifth phase of the programme.
Ambassador Hoagland praised the success of the 70 joint projects funded over the previous four phases. He also encouraged Pakistani scientists and researchers to apply for the Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation funds before the November 30, 2012 deadline.
There should be one goal in mind: improving lives of the people of Pakistan, throughout the country, he added.
“The US-Pakistan Science and Technology Cooperation Programme is one of the highlights of the bilateral relationship between both countries. By supporting joint research across a wide range of issues critical to Pakistan’s prosperity — like education, economic development, and energy — this programme will bring the fruits of research into the hands of Pakistan’s private sector and support economic growth in Pakistan,” Ambassador Hoagland stated.
During the event, scientists shared their innovative work with US Embassy guests. Participants were informed about telemedicine project at Holy Family Hospital (HFH) Rawalpindi that brings doctors to remote areas of Pakistan through the use of teleconference technology.
Speaking to scientists working on a solar energy project housed at Comsats Institute of Information and a sewage treatment project at Quaid-i-Azam University, the Ambassador commended these projects for improving access to energy and clean water for residents of the community.
Federal Secretary Ministry of Science and Technology Akhlaq Ahmed Tarar termed the programme as a great success. He, on behalf of government of Pakistan, assured the utmost cooperation in implementing Phase V of the programme.
Executive Director HEC Prof Dr Sohail H. Naqvi said that joint programme had been helpful in facilitating capacity building in science, technology and research at higher education institutions of Pakistan. Over 1,000 scholarships for Pakistani students have been offered by US Universities.
From 2005 onwards, Pakistani government provided 889 million Pakistani rupees to support the Pak-US collaborative research grant programme and 200 million rupees have also been committed for phase V of the programme. “The grant proposals are evaluated on the basis of scientific merit, relevance to programme objectives, qualifications of participants, and cost effectiveness”, he added.
Media coordinator HEC, Murtaza Noor while talking to Dawn said that both countries have been cooperating with each other in the field of science, technology and research at Pakistani universities and institutes, with the goal of improving the capacity of these institutions to support industry competitiveness and improve the well-being of ordinary Pakistani people.